Tag Archives: Friends To Lovers

Wasted Words

By Staci Hart

Synopsis

Some universal truths refuse to be ignored.

Peanut butter and jelly are a match made in heaven. Spaghetti and meatballs are best friends forever. And guys like Tyler Knight don’t go for girls like Cam Emerson.

She knew from the second she met him that he didn’t belong on her bookshelf, the six-foot-six ex-tight end with a face so all-American, it could have sold apple pie. So she shelved him next to the supermodels and rock stars and took her place on her own shelf — the one with the flannel-clad, pasty-faced comic book nerds. Most of her boyfriends have existed between the pages of books, but rather than worrying over her own lacking love life, she puts all her energy into playing Cupid, using her job at the book bar, Wasted Words, as her stomping ground.

Tyler Knight always looks on the bright side. His career-ending injury turned into a job as a sports agent. A horrible breakup led him to Cam, his quirky, smart roommate who is far more beautiful than she realizes. She’s made it perfectly clear she’s not interested in him — not like that at least — but if she ever changes her mind, he won’t hesitate. Because he doesn’t see the lines she’s drawn between them, as much as she insists that they’re there. Deep down he knows that despite their differences, they’re a match well made.

Review

WASTED WORDS is the first book I’ve read from Staci Hart, and I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy it like I hoped I would.  Which is a shame, because the blurb sounded like something I’d really be into: Hot Jock (Tyler) falls in love with Geeky Girl (Cam) who doesn’t know how beautiful she really is.

While I liked Tyler a lot, I found Cam completely unlikeable and it was her behaviour that proved too much to overcome.  She was supposed to be smart and funny, but I found her to be childish, too insecure and downright bitchy when something didn’t go her way.  She thought she knew what was best for everyone, so when they threw a wrench in her plans, she threw a tantrum.  Literally.

Unfortunately, my issues with WASTED WORDS didn’t end with Cam.  It was a slow moving book that became a struggle for me to finish, so much so that I ended up skipping sections without feeling like I missed anything important.  I noticed some thoughts and comments were repeated, as well as several spelling mistakes and missing words throughout.

WASTED WORDS is told in dual POVs and comes with a HFN ending for Tyler and Cam.  It does appear to be a stand-alone, but I know at least one other couple have had a book written about them.

Wasted Words

My Rating:  

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Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

Review

GOODBYE PARADISE is an amazing read with plenty of heartwarming scenes and beautiful characters.

Josh is an absolute sweetheart; one with a very kind and gentle soul.  Having been treated badly at the farm, he feels worthless and like nothing he does is ever good enough and, because of their religious upbringing, he also feels ashamed of his feelings towards Caleb.  But over time, and with reassurances from Caleb and their new friends, he slowly begins to let go of everything that was drilled into his head his whole life to find peace and happiness within himself.

“They think God doesn’t like it when you curse?  But god is just fine with throwing you out by the side of the road?  Do you hear how messed up that is?”

Caleb is the more confident, skilled and dominant of the two; he wasn’t bullied like Josh was because he held some rank at the farm.  He’s also a natural protector and spent most of his days at the farm shielding Josh.  I would go so far as to say he has a slight hero complex, because his need to protect sometimes went too far and he often felt responsible for things he had no control over.

“A real man does what needs doing.  He takes care of the people he loves.  You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

I not only loved Josh and Caleb, but almost everyone else in this story too.  Washington was their saviour when they needed one and seemed to become a father figure of sorts.  Maggie (a farm runaway from years before) was a lovely young woman who helped them adjust to life outside the farm.  Maggie’s husband, Daniel, was a cool guy who had no problem opening up his home to strangers in need.

GOODBYE PARADISE has loose ties to the True North series, but you don’t have to read those books to understand and enjoy this one.  GOODBYE PARADISE is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Josh and Caleb.  I truly hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future, and I’d also like to see a book about Maggie’s sister, Miriam, because that young woman needs some happiness in her life after what she endured at the farm.

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

My Rating:  

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Worth The Wait (St. James # 1)

By Jamie Beck

Synopsis

Thirteen years ago, Vivi LeBrun was sketching a rooster and eating Oreos when she first met—and fell for—her friend’s brother, David St. James. Since then, her love for David has only intensified thanks to years of friendship with his family, who rescued her from a lonely, tumultuous childhood. As she travels to Block Island to vacation with the St. James siblings, Vivi daydreams about reuniting with David, hoping he’ll finally see her as his soul mate.

After his mother’s death, David distanced himself from his siblings, determined to hide a devastating family secret. Now, he’s brought a new girlfriend along to his homecoming—one who’s pushing for a serious commitment. The last thing he needs on his growing list of problems is his budding attraction to Vivi.

With tensions running high, David’s behavior triggers a series of events that might cost him the love he’s always taken for granted and Vivi the only real family she’s ever known.

Review

WORTH THE WAIT is the first book I’ve read from Jamie Beck, and I found it to be an enjoyable read.

I quite liked Vivi, who is fun, friendly and just a really nice person.  She lost her mother and brother when she was just a child and her father became a drunk to escape.  But despite all that, she remains positive and upbeat.  She has been in love with David since she was thirteen and even at that young age, she never hid her feelings from him.  That takes courage and I admired her for it.  But after waiting in vain for half of her life, she decides it’s time to move on from David and, as is her way, she’s not afraid to tell him exactly what she thinks and feels.

“Vivi, your friendship means everything to me.  I don’t want to lose it.”
“Of course you don’t.  Who would willingly let go of someone who gives everything and asks for nothing in return?”

David is a nice guy, but he’s also a little selfish and I spent a large portion of the story not liking him very much.  He’s dealing with his own personal demons which have caused him to recently push away not only his family, but also Vivi.  He’s always been aware of Vivi’s feelings for him but in all honesty, he never led her on…at least up until now.  His character is a cliché though, in that he didn’t realise exactly how he wanted Vivi until her affection wasn’t available to him anymore.

She’d always been an all-or-nothing girl.  He should have guessed she would treat him likewise.  For years she’d given him her all, and now she had nothing left.

WORTH THE WAIT is told in dual POVs and comes with a very nice HEA.  The story is told in present time but also includes the occasional flashback to events that took place over the past thirteen years.  I found this to be an easy and enjoyable read, and I would read the next book in the series.

Worth The Wait (St. James # 1)

My Rating:  

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St. James Series

Coma Girl: Parts 1-6

By Stephanie Bond

Synopsis

In COMA GIRL, a victim of a tragic event lies in a hospital bed, at the mercy of friends and relatives who think she can’t hear them. But she SO can.

COMA GIRL, Part 1 novella is a month’s worth of daily segments taking place in July.
COMA GIRL, Part 2 novella is a month’s worth of daily segments taking place in August.
COMA GIRL, Part 3 novella is a month’s worth of daily segments taking place in September.
COMA GIRL, Part 4 novella is a month’s worth of daily segments taking place in October.
COMA GIRL, Part 5 novella is a month’s worth of daily segments taking place in November.
COMA GIRL, Part 6 novella is a month’s worth of daily segments taking place in December.

Review

I decided to review all six parts of COMA GIRL as one because I didn’t see the point of every review saying “She’s still in a coma” and “Another secret and/or confession was revealed”.  All six parts take place between July 1st and December 31st and total about 600 pages.  Apart from Part 6, every novella ended with a cliffhanger that I didn’t see coming.

Marigold was involved in a terrible car accident in June which left her in a coma, however she’s able to hear everything that is said around her.  Throughout the months she has regular visits from her family, her best friend, a scary but hilarious nun, the detective investigating her accident, a mystery man who reads poetry, and a doctor who won’t give up that one day she will wake up.  Almost every person who visited her confessed their secrets and personal problems, and it was evident very early on that her parents treated her differently from their other children and that her entire family is not involved in her life and know nothing about her.  Which is scary because her family now have the right to make medical decisions on her behalf.

I’ll be honest, there’s not much of a romance element to this story, at least there isn’t until you reach the end of November.  Assuming she would one day wake up, I kept trying to figure out who she was going to end up with as there were a couple of possibilities, even though she was pining for a man who was marrying someone else.  Spoiler Alert:  She does wake up.  She tells a few people that she could hear everything, but when it came to her family she decided to keep their secrets and start fresh.  Her quick forgiveness of her entire family for all they said and did was probably the only disappointing part of this entire series.  No-one can heal and move on if everyone is still keeping secrets.

COMA GIRL is told only in Marigold’s POV and to get the most out of the series, it needs to be read in order.  The author calls it a daily serial and it is written almost like a journal, with each new chapter being a new day and just a few pages long.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a book laid out in such a way, and I found I didn’t mind it.  There is no epilogue, which was disappointing as I would have loved to have seen a glimpse into Marigold’s future.

Coma Girl: Parts 1-6

My Rating:  

Coma Girl: Part 1 Buy LinksAmazon
Coma Girl: Part 2 Buy LinksAmazon
Coma Girl: Part 3 Buy LinksAmazon
Coma Girl: Part 4 Buy LinksAmazon
Coma Girl: Part 5 Buy LinksAmazon
Coma Girl: Part 6 Buy LinksAmazon

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Coma Girl Series

Dirty Score (Rough Riders Hockey # 3)

By Skye Jordan

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Synopsis

Rafe “Savage” lives up to his name on the ice and in the bedroom. Forging a legacy as the Rough Riders’ most notorious playboy is easy when the woman he really wants is off limits. Mia’s brother isn’t just Rafe’s best friend, he’s also a teammate. With the Cup in site, Rafe won’t screw with anything that threatens the team’s winning streak. But when Mia comes to town on a mission of her own, one little woman may turn out to be the toughest opponent Rafe’s ever faced.

When it comes to men, Mia is everyone’s best friend. But when it comes to romance, her relationships are destined for failure. With a new job awaiting her on the other side of the country, she’s determined to start fresh. To do that, she needs to let go of this stupid crush once and for all.

Seducing Rafe isn’t just the best option; it’s her only option. Until she discovers he’s been harboring the same feelings. And with his team weeks away from the biggest game of their career, and Mia’s new life waiting, their no strings affair threatens to tear both their worlds apart.

Review

DIRTY SCORE is the third book in the Rough Riders Hockey series and while I enjoyed the first two books in the series, this one was quite the letdown.

As I write this review, I’m trying to think of something nice to say, especially about the characters, but I’m coming up blank.  Rafe and Mia spend almost the entire book pushing and pulling against each other, and it got old real fast.  Tate (Mia’s half-brother and Rafe’s best friend) was bossy, domineering, disrespectful and ultimately unlikeable.  Kilbourne (Rafe’s teammate) was a total dick to everyone and I’m still trying to figure out why he was even in the story or why his teammates never sorted him out.  In regards to the family ties, spending 40% of the story confused as to who Rafe, Mia, Tate and Joe were to each other made my head hurt, until the family tree was finally explained at the 42% mark.

DIRTY SCORE does come with a HEA, but even with an epilogue, I was left without any real resolution as to how Rafe and Mia ended.  Did Mia stay in LA for her job or did she move to DC to be with Rafe?  Did she do the jersey designs on the side of her LA job, or is the jersey gig her sole source of income?  I’m assuming she gave up her LA job to live with Rafe and design her jerseys, but it’s not clarified.  DIRTY SCORE is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  Will I read the fourth book in the series?  That will depend on who it’s about.  If it’s about Tate or Kilbourne, I’ll probably end up skipping it.

Dirty Score (Rough Riders Hockey # 3)

My Rating:  2 Hearts

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Rough Riders Hockey Series

Hard Compromise (Compromise Me # 2)

By Samanthe Beck

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Synopsis

Laurie Peterson assumes her impulsive one-night stand with sinfully sexy Sheriff Ethan Booker is the biggest surprise of the year…until her bakery burns down while she’s basking in the afterglow. It looks like her dreams are up in smoke, but then Ethan proposes a deal too tempting to resist.

Ethan has no intention of settling for a one-night stand with Laurie. Nor does he want anything to do with the women his wealthy family wants him to meet. Not when he’s waited ten years for his chance to make his move. His deal might have strings—and Laurie may not know the stakes—but nothing will stop this sexy cop from staking a real claim on her body and her heart.

Review

HARD COMPROMISE is a romance story that was ten years in the making.

Laurie is a woman who was born on the wrong side of the tracks and is desperate to make a name for herself away from her mother’s reputation.  Despite being nothing like her mother, she believes that’s how everyone sees her, so she keeps everyone at arm’s length and only has one good friend.  Her mother is a horrible woman, threatening what little Laurie holds dear, and I was glad when Laurie finally put a stop to it.

Booker (Ethan) was born into a wealthy family, but he never once acted like a snob or thought he was better than anyone, and I loved that about him.  He’s naturally protective and fills his sheriff role perfectly.  Other than finally convincing Laurie that he is someone she can turn to and lean on, I can’t really say much about him because most of the story focuses on Laurie.  Ethan’s mother was a real surprise and despite her small role, I liked her a lot.

HARD COMPROMISE is a story that I liked, but didn’t love.  The sex between Booker and Laurie?  Hot.  The scene where Laurie opens the door dressed in nothing but a robe and a pair of handcuffs?  Totally awkward and completely hilarious.  Booker and Laurie constantly fighting for dominance in the relationship?  A turn off.  I wouldn’t exactly call this a friends-to-lovers romance, but more of an acquaintances-to-lovers romance.  HARD COMPROMISE is told in dual POVs, comes with a HEA and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

Hard Compromise (Compromise Me # 2)

My Rating:  3 Hearts

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Compromise Me Series

Rush (Austin Arrows # 1)

By Nicole Edwards

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Synopsis

Kingston Rush
Becoming a goaltender in the NHL is the only thing I ever wanted for myself. 
Goal accomplished.
Two years ago, I was the best goalie in the league, for the third time. With our Stanley Cup win, the Austin Arrows were on top of the world. Nothing could possibly bring us down.
Wrong.

Turns out, even when you’re at the top, you can find yourself back at rock bottom. 
But it gets worse.
Not only did the team fall from grace, then I did too. I was accused of something I didn’t do. And now I’m being forced to repair my tarnished reputation.
Only I don’t know how to do that.

When the suggestion is made for me to pull off this ruse for the media, I know what I’m getting into. I also know there’s only one right answer.
But it’s complicated, and I’m not the only one who could get hurt. 
There’s only one major problem.
I can’t say no.

Review

RUSH is the first book in the Austin Arrows series, and the first book I’ve read by Nicole Edwards.  Unfortunately, I found myself struggling to get through this one.  I usually like to read a book fast, but this one took me about three days because it wasn’t keeping my attention and I kept putting it down.  There was a lot of repetition throughout the entire book, which was frustrating.  I also felt the way the characters behaved was not appropriate for their age.  Most of the characters are in their mid-thirties, but the sometimes childish, petty and bitchy way they acted was what I’d expect to see in a YA or NA novel.  Overall, there just seemed to be too much drama.

There were times I liked Kingston and Ellie, and there were times I didn’t.  My favourite parts of the entire story are when Kingston and Ellie text each other.  It was cute, flirty, a little sexy, and most of all, no overthinking.  Just simple conversation.  I think what got me frustrated the most was that they were so afraid to tell the other how they really felt.  Ellie never believed any of the nice things Kingston said about her and thought he was just sleeping with her to kill time.  No way would he risk his friendship with her or her brother just to get some action, but she never thought of it that way.  In regards to Kingston, I thought it was a little creepy that he kept calling Ellie a little girl, especially when they were having sex.  There’s also a good portion of the story dedicated to Ellie’s twelve year old daughter, Bianca, as she searches for her father.  As with Kingston and Ellie, there were times I liked her and times I didn’t.

RUSH is told mostly in Kingston and Ellie’s POV, with a few chapters being told in other characters POVs.  It is a series, but I’m assuming each book could be read as a stand-alone.  Sadly, this one didn’t win me over enough to give the rest of the series a try.

Rush (Austin Arrows # 1)

My Rating:  2 Hearts

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Austin Arrows Series

Sex Machine

By Marie Force

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Synopsis

He’s good for one thing and one thing only—and she wants it bad.

Honey Carmichael has never had a decent orgasm, and she’s out to change that with the one man in town known for his superior skill between the sheets.

Blake Dempsey is happy to help Honey with her “problem” as long as she knows he’s only interested in sex. His heart was broken when his high school girlfriend was killed in the car he was driving, and he has nothing to offer other than more orgasms than Honey can handle.

Which is just fine with her—until fantastic orgasms aren’t enough anymore for either of them and unexpected feelings turn hot sex into messy entanglement—and that most definitely wasn’t in the plans. 

But you know what they say about plans…

Review

“I want you to fuck me.”

When a book starts like that, you know you’re in for a ride.  Honey is desperate to have some good sex and word on the street is that Blake is the man to see.  An emotional robot since the death of his high school girlfriend, he and his huge dick will give a woman a night to remember, but only one night because he doesn’t do repeats.  But Honey has always been on his radar, and he knows that one night with her won’t be enough.

I try to avoid books where one of the lead characters refuses to fall in love again because of a single incident in their past, but I’m a huge fan of Marie’s Fatal series, so I gave this one a go.  I enjoyed the story for the most part, but to be honest, this story is predominately about sex between two people who try to deny their feelings for each other.  Especially Blake, who had my eyes rolling due to the number of times he thought about his girlfriend⎯who died twelve years ago⎯and using it as an excuse to keep women at arms length.

Unfortunately, there were a few other things in this story that didn’t sit right with me.
1 – Blake letting the women in town use him for sex and not caring about his reputation.
2 – Honey’s friend, Lauren, kept pushing her to have sex with Blake because she’d slept with him in the past and knew from experience how good he was.  That was a bit icky.
3 – The drunken anal sex scene that physically hurt Honey, yet she claimed she loved it.

Don’t get me wrong, Blake and Honey are VERY nice characters, and I liked that Honey wasn’t afraid to step up and fight for what she wanted.  But I think I would have preferred Blake to fight for the relationship instead of Honey.  SEX MACHINE is told in dual POVs and is a stand-alone that comes with a nice HEA for Blake and Honey.

Sex Machine

My Rating:  3 Hearts

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Ignite (Legacy # 0.75)

By Rebecca Yarros

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Synopsis

It only takes a spark…

In Legacy, Colorado, I buried my father alongside his elite Hotshot team. 
Ten years later, I’ve followed in his footsteps—fighting fires in the mountains of Alaska with my brother.
Amid the flames, nothing ignites me like Avery Claire.
She’s stubborn, strong, sexy as hell, and my best friend. 
She also has no idea that I’m in love with her.
But Colorado is calling me home, needing every Legacy-born firefighter to successfully rebuild our fathers’ team. 
One night will change everything between us, 
But she’s tied to Alaska and my future is in Colorado.
Now I’m torn between what my honor demands, 
And what my heart can’t live without.

Review

IGNITE is the second prequel novella in the Legacy series that takes place in roughly the same timeline as POINT OF ORIGIN.  As with the first novella, the Legacy Hotshot crew is still trying to come together, still trying to get enough legacies to reinstate the team.  River and Avery have been best friends for seven years, and have secretly been in love with each other for most of that time.  Now that he might be headed back to Colorado, River feels it’s time to make his move on Avery, to take their friendship to the next level.

I liked Avery, but I did have my issues with her.  I can respect that she took care of her father, but at the same time I hated that she let him treat her so horribly.  He’d use the word “family” to guilt her into helping him, but not once did he treat her like family.  I liked River, who was a very patient and understanding man when it came to Avery.  I loved that he was willing to make so many sacrifices just to keep his relationship with Avery alive.

IGNITE is told in dual POVs and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  As with the first novella, there’s no firefighter action to be seen, but maybe we’ll see some in a future novel.  This novella was short and sweet and came with a nice HEA.

Ignite (Legacy # 0.75)

My Rating:  4 Hearts

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Legacy Series

Highland Fling (The McLaughlins # 4)

By Shelli Stevens

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Synopsis

Sleeping with her boss can only lead to trouble. And pleasure.

Delonna comes by her Scottish-style frugality honestly–her parents’ spendthrift ways once left her temporarily homeless. She’s been tending bar at McLaughlin’s Pub, looking forward to the day she can call her own shots. Until her now ex-boyfriend makes off with her hard-earned savings. Now she’s got a bookie breathing threats down her neck in an apparent attempt to squeeze blood from a turnip.

Aleck McLaughlin has three good reasons to keep his hands off the delectable Delonna. One, he’s her boss. Two, she’s a good ten years younger. Three, he’s sworn to never again leave his heart vulnerable.

Her predicament sends all those reasons out the window, and Aleck moves her in with him for protection, then whisks her away on a whirlwind trip from Whidbey Island to Scotland.
The romance of being in Edinburgh only increases their need for one another. But it quickly becomes clear they’re facing a past that’s just as painful as the present is dangerous…

Review

HIGHLAND FLING is the fourth and final book in The McLaughlins series and takes place a few weeks after LOCH AND KEY finished.  Here we have the oldest McLaughlin brother, Aleck, and his young employee, Delonna, who have been flirting up a storm since they started working together.  Their age gap, the fact that they work together and that they’re always dating other people, is what’s kept them apart…until now.  When her life is threatened, she has no choice but to move in with Aleck until the threat against her is gone.

Aleck is your standard tortured soul who is unwilling to fall in love and get married because of one (albeit tragic) incident that happened twenty years ago.  He knows his feelings for Delonna are strong, but he refuses to acknowledge them and therefore hurts Delonna in the process.  Of course, when tragedy strikes and he thinks he’s lost her forever, he quickly changes his tune and is suddenly more than ready to give her the world.   I can’t say much about Delonna because I can’t remember much about her.  I’m not saying she’s bad or anything, she’s just not very memorable.

HIGHLAND FLING is told in dual POVs, with part of the final chapter being told in Debra’s POV (The McLaughlin matriarch) and takes place a few years later, where we see every couple is still living happily ever after.  As with the previous books, the story moves quite fast and the ending seems to come out of nowhere.  Overall, I thought the entire series was nice and easy to read.

Highland Fling (The McLaughlins # 4)

My Rating:  3 Hearts

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The McLaughlins Series